Chris Rea působí v pop music již od 70. let, ovšem i po tak dlouhé době dokáže stále přijít s autorsky mimořádně vyspělými nahrávkami.
Jeho předposlední album “Stony Road” u nás téměř dosáhlo na Zlatou desku. Nejnovější počin “The Blue Jukebox” pokračuje v podobném, bluesově laděném duchu a disponuje potenciálem zasáhnout širokou posluchačskou obec.
Na albu najdete 13 skladeb včetně pilotního singlu “Baby Don´t Cry”, deska vychází také v limitované edici v digipackovém balení.
CHRIS REA - BIOGRAPHY
Album: “The Blue Jukebox” Release: 29 March 2004
The son of Italian immigrants, Chris Rea was born on March 4, 1951 and brought up in Middlesbrough, England. His father had an ice cream parlour, and Chris grew up with idealised visions of Italy – a sunny place inhabited by happy people. He says you can hear the Italian influence in the sweetness of many of his melodies even today. But what exactly brought about his unique slide guitar style? It was the blues... – and a Joe Walsh record which a friend played to him the day he was unfairly expelled from school. These two events changed 19 year-old Chris Rea’s life; he went out and bought himself a guitar and a bottleneck.
In 1973, he joined local rock band Magdalene, whose singer Dave Coverdale had just left to join Deep Purple. Magdalene changed their name to The Beautiful Losers, but despite winning Melody Maker’s Best Newcomers of 1975 Award, did little but live up to their name. Rea left in 1977 to go solo, releasing his ‘Fool (If You Think It’s Over)’ single in April 1978. ‘Fool…’ was a hit both in America and Britain. 1980’s Tennis was his first self-written album, but it only reached Number 60 in the British charts. In 1982, a self-titled album gave him another hit single: ‘Loving You’. By 1983, he has said, he was at rock bottom and close to giving up, but a move to London and the first of a series of European tours changed his mind. Europe welcomed his heartfelt, grainy sound, and his hit ‘I Can Hear Your Heartbeat’ was a hit all over Europe.
By the end of the 1980s, the albums Shamrock Diaries and Dancing With Strangers both became Gold sellers, and in 1989 Road To Hell became his first Number One LP, with the title track becoming an international hit. In 1994, Chris Rea became seriously ill and underwent life-saving surgery. He continued writing, however; the music he created for a Ford Probe commercial was released as a single and broke into the Top 30. In 1996, filming began on Chris Rea’s loosely autobiographical film project, La Passione. The accompanying soundtrack album, also written by Rea, featured Shirley Bassey.
In the late 1990s, Chris Rea continued to broaden his creative horizons. He acted in Michael Winner’s film Parting Shots, then recorded the title track of his album The Blue Café for the German TV series Tatort/Schimanski and performed it in one episode. He also re-recorded ‘Let’s Dance’ – his biggest-ever selling UK single, first released in 1987 – with comedian Bob Mortimer and the Middlesbrough FC team to celebrate Boro reaching the FA Cup final in May 1997. 1999 was taken up with his concept album, The Road To Hell Part 2, in which he explored electronic production techniques and drum ‘n’ bass rhythms.
Throughout this impressive career, Chris has stayed married to his childhood sweetheart, Joan – no mean feat in the promiscuous world of rock n’ roll. “She supported me when I needed support. She was the breadwinner for the first five years in my musical career. It’s very much a partnership,” he says simply. “It takes 30 years and there are downsides and you do have to make strong decisions about the kind of person you want to be...” Joan is even on Chris’s tour insurance – if she gets sick, he won’t go away. Throughout his illness, Chris’s spirits were kept alive by his two daughters, and by his wife. His family, he says, literally saved him. “I certainly got a payback this year from my family.”
Since his last album for long time label East West in 2000, Chris has embarked on perhaps the most exciting period of his recording career to date. Not only has he created his own label, JAZZEE BLUE, but his new album Dancing Down The Stony Road was released in September 2002, selling well over 100,000 copies by December.
The new album also underlined a change in direction for Chris with a return to the musical style of the blues, which was fundamental to him in his very early work. Recorded in France and accompanied by both a documentary and DVD, the collection of songs is very much a musical journey tracing the blues from its African roots through to the delta sound and ending up with the later North American interpretation which grew around the great industrial cities of the U.S. The emotional importance of the double album is key to its style, with the lyrical content being extremely personal to Chris, covering not just his period of recuperation following his illness but going right back to his childhood memories as well.
In many ways the launch of the label is not just a musical endeavour but a spiritual one as well. The success of Stony Road allowed Chris to return to his musical roots for the first time since releasing his debut record, creating music totally unhindered by major label demands. The resulting success of Stony Road underlined his belief that the general music buyer, if allowed to hear differing musical styles, will embrace them and that the commercial aspect of music is much better left to the creators of that music rather than the executive suits.
This approach to music is also a major artistic factor in his new album The Blue Juke Box.
This exceptional album contains 13 tracks – and each and everyone of them deserves to be pressed in vinyl and flipped onto one of those old machines. These fabulous tunes provide the perfect soundtrack for true blues fans to celebrate the sweet melancholy of life in their very own way. While following up on the blues fusions of Stony Road, the new album also displays Chris’s sensibility for cool jazz. The result – the familiar lounge lizard saxophone accompanies the almost forgotten acoustic guitar from a Mississippi shack.
Anyone already sure this will mean a generic blues album, however, is much mistaken. Rea defies conventional categorisation – except for the conclusion that this intelligent album would always be worth a listen. It is in turns cool, mature, on the move, direct but diverse and never over the top. The up-tempo numbers set a solid groove before elegantly yielding to the slower tracks. It is unassuming enough for Sunday brunch and sufficiently sultry to launch a Friday night.
Chris Rea retains a uniquely dark, yet wry view of life that informs all his best work. It’s best summed up by his attitude to his own talent. “Creativity is a condition, it’s an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that makes you want to continually create,” he says.
The Blue Jukebox represents a further development in Rea’s music, comprising a range of 13 retro-modern blues tracks. As the familiar Chris Rea composure abounds, it illustrates the power of modesty and of artistic freedom and that blues is far from buried under the contemporary mainstream.
Fancy a listen? Insert coin, please.
1. The Beat Goes On
2. Long Is The Time, Hard Is The Road
3. Let’s Do It
4. Let It Roll
5. Steel River Blues
6. Somebody Say Amen
7. Blue Street
8. Monday Morning
9. Restless Soul
10. What Kind Of Love Is This
11. Paint My Jukebox Blue
12. Baby Don’t Cry